The Minister of Economy and Planning of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Dr Khalid bin Muhammad Al-Qusaibi, received the Director General of SESRIC, H.E. Dr. Savas Alpay, at his office in Riyadh on Wednsday, 31 March 2010. During the meeting, Dr. Alpay briefed the Minister on various recent activities and initiatives of SESRIC in its three mandate areas of socio-economic research, statistics and training. In particular, Dr. Alpay briefied the Minister on the Vocational Education and Training Programme for OIC Member Countries (OIC-VET), which has been initiated and designed by SESRIC and officially launched by H.E. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey and Chairman of the COMCEC, at the COMCEC Economic Summit, which was held on 9 November 2009 in Istanbul on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the COMCEC. In this context, he informed the Minister that the Centre has started the necessary communications with all the OIC Member States through their respective national authorities, and requested them to designate their National Focal Points (NFPs) for the OIC-VET Programme. He also informed that, so far, thirty member countries have already designated their NFPs and that the Centre has launched a special OIC-VET Web Portal which includes all the information regarding the Programme for the use of both NFPs and potential project partners. Dr. Alpay also informed the Minister that a number of pilot projects have already been planned in consultation with the NFPs and relevant organisations to be implemented in 2010, and some of them are already under execution.
Dr. Alpay and H.E. Dr Al-Qusaibi also exchanged their views on the challenges facing the OIC member countries and the priority areas of coopeartion among them, particulary those related to science and technology, education and youth. On his part, the Minister commended the role and the efforts of the Centre, as a subsidiary organ of the OIC, in providing the necessary and up-to-date information and knowledge that would make the member countries better informed of each other’s capacities and needs as well as challenges and potentials. He also expressed the willing and readiness of the Ministry and the relevant institutions in the Kingdom to cooperate with the Centre and support its activities. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Alpay presented H.E. Dr Al-Qusaibi with some samples of the various publications of the Centre and expressed his deep thanks for having this opportunity to meet with him and for his warm and kind receiving at his office. He also expressed his profound gratitude and appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its support and commitment to pay its contributions to the annual budget of the Centre and for its recent generous financial contribution to the construction budget of new Headquarters of the Centre.
The meeting of the Director General of SESRIC with H.E. Dr Khalid bin Muhammad Al-Qusaibi, the Minister of Economy and Planning, was preceded by a visit of the Director General to the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabi. The Director General was received by the General Director of the CDSI, H.E. Mr. Mohanna Al-Mohanna. During the meeting the two Directors exchanged their views on the best possible ways and means of cooperation between the two institutions, particularly in the areas of exchanging the statistical data and publications and cooperation in statistical capacity building expertise. They also discussed the outcome of the Meeting of the National Statistical Organisations (NSOs) of the OIC Member Countries, which was organised by SESRIC and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and held in Istanbul on 22-23 March 2010. Following their bilateral meeting, the two Directors attended a meeting with some senior staff at the CDSI where a comprehensive presentation has been made on the history, objectives and various activities of the CDSI. Following the presentation, the General Director of the CDSI, Mr. Mohanna Al-Mohanna, invited Dr. Alpay to a short visit to some divisions of the CDSI which are responsible for conducting the General Population and Housing Census 2010, where the Heads of these divisions briefed Dr. Alpay on the various techniques and procedures they use for each phase of the currently conducting Census.